The sound of silence

The Noise Within

The Noise Within (Photo credit: Cayusa)

My phone is almost always on silent, which drives my wife mad because I often don’t hear the thing ringing when she’s trying to get hold of me. The main reason is that I don’t really want to disturb anyone else with my ringtone. If I do notice my phone ringing – I try to keep my conversation muted and short if I am in a public space.

Some sounds are pleasant. The sound of water flowing over a babbling brook for example or birdsong on a bright summer’s day. I even quite like the pitter patter sound of rain (if I’m indoors) which is a good job bearing in mind where I live. although people’s tastes differ, almost everyone likes music of one sort or another. I find some people’s voices very pleasant; Lawrence Dallaglio has an amazing voice as does the guy who used to play the lead in Spooks.

Some sounds are unpleasant. Nails scratching down a blackboard make probably the most horrible sound in the world. Breaking glass, screaming and shouting are unpleasant not just because of the sound themselves but also because of what sometimes accompanies such sounds.

As I sat on the train this morning, I was surrounded by a sea of irritating noises. There was the guy who sat opposite who juggled two mobile phones. He was constantly speaking on one of them whilst the other one rang, at which point I assume he told the person on one phone to hold on whilst he answered the other one. I can’t really tell because although his voice was so loud that I heard every word, he was speaking in a foreign language.

Then there was the young girl with ear-bud headphones on. Her music was so loud that just about everyone in the carriage could hear the tinny sound of whichever song happened to be playing. I couldn’t recognise the exact track, but it sounded appalling, and she must be almost entirely deaf. If she isn’t, she will be before long.

They were the main noise polluters but almost everyone else’s phone made some kind of chirp, beep or irritating melody during the hour I was on the train. At one point, I gave up reading my book and took a look out through the window. I just happened to notice a sign at the base of the window. It showed a graphic of a mobile phone with a cross through it and the words “Quiet zone, please  respect other passengers”

God knows what it was like outside the quiet zone.

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